Wells of an offseason

Kevin Towers talked about the need for many parts for the San Diego Padres to be competitive once again. Petco Park has aided his cause and the "big" fish he landed, David Wells, fulfilled what Towers termed as "one of the biggest needs." Wells was signed to a one year incentive laden deal and made his first appearance in San Diego on Wednesday.

"It needed to be a busy offseason," Kevin Towers began. "We had a lot of ground to make up to get back on top of the division. Needed to make a lot of moves to make this a competitive ballclub and hopefully get back to playing games in October rather than watching football come October."

After San Diego was voted the worst sports town by ESPN recently, the Padres are more than clawing out of the cellar; they are on an all out run.

The Padres have been crossing needs off their wish list since the offseason. They dealt for catcher Ramon Hernandez, they re-signed vital parts to their bullpen and added others, they strengthened the number five spot in the rotation, and got Jay Payton to play centerfield on Tuesday.

The move that will make or break the team was the signing of David Wells.

"One of the biggest needs was at the top of the rotation," Towers said. "We needed someone who could mentor and lead our young pitching staff. It is hard to find that type of guy, a proven winner.

"We were fortunate enough to find one that grew up in our backyard. It was pretty clear he wanted to be a Pad. Number 33, David Wells."

"It's a great honor to be out here, being a Padre fan my whole career," Wells began. "Everyone wants to come home and pitch in their hometown."

Wells believes he can be the mentor Towers spoke of. Having pitched in the Majors for 17 years, he has played with and spoken to some of the best in the business and he is not shy about sharing.

"I learned a lot from guys like Jimmy Key and Dave Stieb and Jim Clancy and I think I have something to offer to the younger guys," Wells said. "Advice is free. I don't want to get in the way of what anyone is doing managerially, but I'll say something if it needs to be said."

Wells is focused on first getting healthy and then leading by example.

"I'm just trying to focus on getting healthy and trying to contribute as much as I can. I want to come in here and show San Diego I've got a lot left in my arm."

That is what the Padres are counting on. Their season, and the hopes of Padre fans nationwide hope to ride that arm back to glory.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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